I woke up on Thursday (now my only day off) with the usual semi-hangover and caught the bus into Gongbei with Brent. Gongbei is the area of Zhuhai bordering Macau and therefore the shopping district where the Macanese types pop over to stock up on cheap clothes and groceries. We went to a large underground bookshop with a mediocre selection of books in English, none of which I bought. Then we went for a walk down “Walking Street”, a pedestrianised area with fashion boutiques in the daytime and prostitutes at night. I got some “official” DVDs, underwear, food and “milk tea” but failed to find any of the other things on my list, so just checked out the gigantic underground go-kart track and went back to the flat.
Then in the afternoon I wandered around until I found a hairdresser and mimed the action of cutting off almost all my hair, which he then did for 5 RMB (40p).
Sent a message to a girl I met a month ago asking her out for a drink, but she didn’t get back to me so I went out for some dinner at a Sichuan restaurant with Sheena, another teacher. While eating I got a text message saying we wouldn’t be able to move into the flat after all, so we will have to continue looking.
With nothing to do for the evening and feeling a bit crap, I returned to the house and watched the monty python DVDs I’d bought earlier. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood, but they weren’t remotely funny. Brent went off to bed, and I would have tried to go to sleep if I’d been the least bit tired instead of bored and wide awake.
At 1am Brent reappeared and suggested we go out instead of sitting around going crazy, which proved to be a good idea. We got a taxi down to “Bar Street” and had a look at the two clubs. The first had an appalling Michael Jackson impersonator on stage, the second only four people inside and no lights or music.
After dawdling around the street for a short while, we ended up going to a new club called ‘Yesterday’ with a couple from Goa. Surprisingly enough it was a proper European-style club with decent enough music and a fairly good atmosphere. The only negative was the world’s creepiest toilet attendant, who attempted to give me a neck rub while I was having a piss. What are toilet attendants for, anyway? Why don’t they just all fuck off and get proper jobs?
Back in the bar we got talking to some girls. I had my eye on one and everything went very well until I started to feel predictably sick while dancing with her. Back at the seats she tried to make me down a glass of beer, which ended up all over me and my clothes. The alternative (swallow drink, probable food escape to follow) didn’t bear thinking about. She left soon after, and I went back home with her less attractive friend who didn’t speak a word of English.
Waking on Friday I had another hangover but a good reason for it this time. The girl had left a few hours before. We arbitrarily swapped phone numbers though the chances of a call are minimal as we don’t speak each-others languages. The remainder of the day was fairly quiet – stayed in, for the main part, planning the weekend’s lessons. In the evening I put on a suit and went to teach my business course, then came home to pass out.
Saturday was even more hectic than usual. First three lessons in the morning, including the nightmare 10.10am class, which I managed to control as far as possible without having to shout this time. Next was lunch break, when I planned the rest of the day. The afternoon started with two more classes, then I was taken down to another branch of the school to act as a judge in a strange talent show. There were only about 10 people there and some of the acts were a little hard to judge. One boy came up, mumbled a joke for twenty seconds, then walked off. Didn’t hear a single word, yet had to give him a mark out of 10. I thought 1.1 was fair. A girl came up and sang a country and western song pitch-perfect, so we gave her first place for being competent.
We had some KFC for tea, then I went back to the school and gave a two-hour talk / Q&A session on travel in Europe. Most Chinese people haven’t heard of Sweden or Austria let alone Belarus and Lithuania, so it was an opportunity to genuinely tell them something they didn’t know.
Was a bit tired after that, so went home, prepared a few more lessons, had a kip, woke up and came in here to do it all over again. As I type this the day is almost over. Macro is leaving tomorrow so she’s having a party at one of the karaoke hotel places.
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